Maxime Elramsisy | California Black Media
The California-Hawaii Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) hosted elected officials, activists, organizers, faith leaders and artists at its 35th annual state convention which s is held in Los Angeles from October 21-23.
Workshops and discussions were held on pressing issues facing African Americans and other communities of color in California and Hawaii.
Activities included “Stop Hate” and Discrimination training, a health forum, a public meeting on reparations, an economic development roundtable, workshops for youth and college-aged members, an environmental justice workshop; and the annual Gwen Moore Public Services Workshop.
The highlight of the convention was a fireside chat with Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, NAACP California Hawaii President Rick Callender Esq.
Over the past two weeks, the LA City Council has been embroiled in a scandal centering on the release of a taped conversation involving former City Council Speaker Nury Martinez and City Council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo and the former president of the LA County Federation of Labor. Ron Herrera made derogatory comments about several groups, including Blacks, Mexicans, LGPTQIA+, as well as several individuals, including Bonin, who is white, and his adopted son Jacob, who is black.
Contempt and racism
“The attitude they had of contempt and racism didn’t surprise me,” Bonin said. “It was about them three holding the power… They said, because I voted with Marqueece [Harris-Dawson]Running [Price Jr.] and my other colleagues, I was the fourth black member… They took on the organization that Karen Bass founded, The Community Coalition, which is based on a Black-Brown coalition. They went after KIWA, the Korean Immigrant Workers Association, which is based on multiracial collaboration. They were against the idea of people working together, their whole thing was to divide. Their whole thing was for them to win. Someone else had to lose.
Martinez and Herrera resigned days after the leaked recording of the meeting, but despite public outrage and pressure from all political walks of life, including Pres. Joe Biden, Cedillo and De León refuse to step down.
“One of the things I think we should really ask for is official censure of these offending board members, and we need to take their salaries away from them,” Callender said. “If they want to sit there, if they want to do something, they should do it without receiving any money… They refused to quit, refuse to pay them… They took Mark Ridley’s salary -Thomas exactly the same way.”
“We are literally looking at everything possible,” Bonin said. “There’s no one on the board who wants them there.”
The President’s Awards Dinner honored the activism and achievements of top performing members and branches of the NAACP. Among the winners were D’Adrea Davie of Stockton, a real estate agent and generational wealth building advocate, and Yusef Miller of San Diego, leader of the Racial Justice Coalition. Jeanette Ellis-Royston of Pomona, nominated by the Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations, was also honored for her volunteer work. Butte County, Hayward and San Francisco NAACP branches were honored for their advocacy and programming.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump delivered the keynote address at a youth-focused dinner Friday night. Crump has a national reputation as an advocate for social justice and is known for his representation of clients like the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Jacob Blake and Daunte Wright. Reverend Al Sharpton calls him “black America’s attorney general.”
The NAACP was founded in 1909 in response to continued violence against black people across the country. The NAACP is the nation’s largest and most prominent civil rights organization. There are over 2,200 units and branches across the country with over two million activists. Its mission is to ensure equal political, educational, social and economic rights in order to eliminate discrimination based on race and to ensure the health and well-being of all people.
More information about the NAACP California State Conference is available at www.CAHINAACP.org.